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The Lost Gardens of Heligan

There is nothing more inspiring and cheering than a visit to a beautiful garden. And so on our travels, we always make it a point to visit a local garden. Whether it is a formal garden with a Parterre or a gorgeous wild garden both are equally uplifting. During our recent holiday in Cornwall, we visited The Lost Gardens of Heligan (Lowarth Helygen in Cornish) which is Europe's largest garden restoration project and one of the most popular botanical gardens in the UK.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Estate

Heligan Estate, which has been owned by the Tremayne family for more than 400 years, was like a thriving community on its own at its peak. The outbreak of World War One was the start of the estate’s demise as much of its workforce went off to fight in the war. The years of neglect along with the devastating hurricane of 1990 meant that the gardens were 'almost' lost. Luckily in 1990s, John Willis (a descendant of the Tremaynes) introduced Tim Smith, an archaeologist, to the estate and the process of restoration began. With years of hard work and now with a large working team, life has been breathed into the gardens once again. Today the estate covers over 200 acres and the work continues protecting and enhancing the variety of habitats within the estate.

The Gardens

The Lost Gardens of Heligan is incredibly diverse and thus has something to offer to everyone. The key features in the garden are historic glasshouses, the Melon Yard with its Pineapple Pit and the Thunderbox Room (which was recognised as a ‘Living Memorial’ to ‘The Gardeners of Heligan’ by the Imperial War Museum). The Productive Gardens are cultivated throughout the year and have over 300 varieties of mostly heritage fruit, vegetable, salad, and herbs. The Pleasure Gardens are lovely too and include the Northern Summerhouse, Flora's Green and the Italian and Sundial Gardens. All the gardens are typical of the 19th-century style with each area having its own design and unique character. As you wander from one garden area to another you never know what you will stumble on to next and that is a part of the garden's allure.‬‬

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Jungle

Said to be Cornwall’s only outdoor jungle garden and home to one of the longest Burmese rope bridges in Britain, this part of the Heligan Estate is home to a number of exotic plants and stunning trees. Banana plantations, Palm avenues, and giant Rhubarb - it feels like you are in a tropical paradise. When we walked into this area of the estate we could immediately feel the difference in the temperature. It was warmer than the other gardens and I think this unique micro-climate helps the sub-tropical plantings to grow and flourish. This was my favourite part of the estate.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Jungle also is the setting for the rope bridge which stretches around 100 feet above ancient tree ferns and across the Jungle floor and adds to the tropical adventure experience. It seemed quite popular with visitors and during busy times there can be a wait to access the bridge which operates on a 1-way system.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

Lost Valley & Ancient Woodlands

This is another interesting part of the estate. As you walk along the ancient woodland pathways you will come across the well-known Heligan sculptures - The Giant’s Head, Mud Maid and Grey Lady - all beautifully blending with the natural landscape. The Lost Valley with its ponds and lovely wildflowers is also a wonderful place to explore.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

Home Farm Animals

The estate also has a small home farm where some heritage breeds of poultry, sheep and cattle can be seen.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan
Overall, the Lost Gardens of Heligan would make for a great day out for all the family. If you cannot spend the entire day, at least allocate 3-4 hours to get a taste of what the estate has to offer.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan | Pentewan, St.Austell, Cornwall, PL26 6EN
Telephone | +44(0)1726 845100 Email | [email protected]

- Open every day (except Christmas Day) all year round.
- Single visit charges: Adults - £14.50, Students - £8.50 and Children (5 - 17) £6.50
- You can purchase a joint ticket to the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden Project which will give you a generous online discount to both the attractions.
- Please check the website for opening times.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan
Our visit to the Lost Gardens of Heligan was complimentary for the purpose of this review. As always, all opinions in this post are solely our own.

8 comments:

  1. The Lost Gardens of Heligan looks really cool! It seems huge and with a very diverse landscape, unlike other botanical gardens I've seen. I like it that is has farm animals as well. That rope bridge in the jungle reminds me of the Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver.

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    1. Yes, it is a diverse landscape and more natural than most other gardens I have visited. It is a fun place.

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  2. I've never been to Cornwall, but would love to see it one day! Looks like you chose a great day to see the gardens too; it's so pretty especially in the sunshine. Who knew there was a jungle in Cornwall? Not me that's for sure!

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    1. Yes, we were lucky to have wonderful weather during our visit. And the 'jungle' part of the garden was indeed amazing.

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  3. These gardens are fabulous. I love the Lost Valley & Ancient Woodlands area. It reminds me of the bush areas in New Zealand. The sculptures are amusing. I'm not sure about that rope bridge though - maybe I'd cross it, maybe not.

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    1. The rope bridge is safe and a lot of fun. It is a one-way system and sometimes there can be a long wait to cross the bridge.

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  4. That's a really nice tradition actually. Going to gardens in each destination. It's true that they are great spots for relaxation and an instant uplift. The gardens of heligan look so pretty!
    I'd especially enjoy the outdoor jungle garden for the exotic plants and trees. :D

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  5. I'm a big sucker for gardens and suspension / rope bridges so this post definitely made me want to visit these gardens! You've captured everything so beautifully! The most memorable gardens I've been to are in Singapore (Gardens by the Bay) -- you MUST visit if you go to Singapore, I'm sure you'd love it!

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